Sheriff’s Probe of Alleged Election Fraud Halted by Complainant’s Attorney
By Tony Farina
The Niagara County Sheriff’s Department has stopped its investigation into complaints by a Town of Niagara woman who has claimed in press releases issued by Republican leaders that she was talked into filling out an absentee Conservative ballot for Democratic County Legislator Jason Zona by attorney Johnny Destino even though she was perfectly capable of going to the polls to vote.
The alleged complainant, Marie Nichols, said she later decided she shouldn’t have signed an absentee ballot and went to the polls and voted for Zona’s opponent in the Conservative primary, Giulio Colangelo, who went on to win the primary.
Undersheriff Michael Felicetti tells the Niagara Falls Reporter that the investigation has been shut down by the attorney for Nichols, Joseph LaTona, who advised the department not to speak to Nichols or her daughter.
"It is highly irregular to receive a complaint and then have the attorney for the complainant tell us not to talk to the complainant," said Felicetti. "It’s not going anywhere because we can’t speak to the complainant."
LaTona declined to comment on the case when contacted by the Niagara Falls Reporter, and at this point it is uncertain what the next step will be in the complaint by Nichols although other law enforcement agencies could be involved.
The shutdown of the investigation by the Sheriff’s Department seems at odds with comments by State Sen. George Maziarz, a Republican, who said in an interview with broadcaster Sal Paonessa that there are surveillance tapes that purport to show Destino at the Royal Park Apartments where Nichols lives on the date of the alleged visit by Destino.
"Destino said he wasn’t at the apartment," Maziarz said in the broadcast interview."Well, at the apartment building they have security cameras. I think the sheriff has already looked at the security cameras, [has] gotten possession of the security cameras. Let’s see where it goes."
Democratic County Chairman Nick Forster rebutted Maziarz’s comments, saying "this was a complete fabrication of the truth from the get go. Mr. Zona is a distinguished legislator and, in so many people’s eyes, a hero as a fire fighter. The video [Destino at the building] does not exist but it goes to show that they [Republicans] will say anything."
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SEP 24, 2013